Not Always

I was thinking about a post I read on social media yesterday. The question the author posed to her followers brought varied responses—mostly positive in nature, a few that took on a supportive tone and one that was a clear admonition. I suppose its to be expected when we put something out there in an open forum. We won’t always receive hallelujahs and crowns being cast at our feet.

The confident don’t necessarily expect a negative response but they do know how to take it with a grain of salt when it comes. The naive expect all sunshine and rainbows and all of the time. And on things of little more significance than a quick tweet or a post. They’re (we’re!) thrown off track when questioned or doubted or challenged and can mistake someone’s varied point of view as an attack. And attacks must be managed or otherwise shut down, right? A true and intentional attack, yes, but our perception doesn’t always match up with reality if we don’t have both feet on the ground. If we’re so “me” oriented that we don’t hear their heart or allow them to think differently than us.

Can we adjust our wiring to hear the heart and mind of the responder that lies beneath their own external opinion? Their version of, “I don’t think what you said or did is correct” has more to do with them than with us. It truly does. And yes, we can learn to fine-tune our understanding but we must choose to do so.

When we are able to objectively strip away our own gut reactions to a comment or someone’s opinion or stance perhaps we will see where their own life experiences have led them to this belief. Not everything out of their mouth has to support what we say and do and it is also not always an attack.